Before I consternate you all with my innane predictions for the coming year, I thought it would be amusing to humiliate myself by revisiting last year’s ones:
- The Scottish Budget will pass at the first attempt. This one worked! And yes, there was a bit of huffing and puffing along the way, but nothing as dramatic as previous years.
- Labour will hold the most seats after the Holyrood election but won’t form the next administration. Aye well, everyone called this one wrong, except the pollsters. Whom we all refused to believe. The whole prediction suggested it would go down to the wire for Labour. Yes, I am contrite and yes, I am feeling silly.
- The SNP will remain in government, with the support of the Conservatives in return for baubles. Partly right but obviously without the dreaded Tories’ bit. Thank goodness.
- The unholy alliance with the Tories will prompt a resurgence of the left in the SNP. This was always wishful thinking. But the burd continues to live in hope…
- The UK coalition government will last at least another 12 months. An easy one to get right, in hindsight.
- The first UK Minister to resign on conscience grounds will be a Conservative not a Liberal Democrat. Has anyone resigned yet? Apart from David Laws, who had gone before this prediction was made? Wasn’t there some Tory PPS over Europe? Zzzz….
- The UK will vote no in the AV referendum – but Scotland and Wales will vote yes. Again another partial victory – very disappointed in the Celtic nations for going with the mainstream for once.
- Wales will vote yes in its referendum for legislative powers for the Assembly. Hurrah it did!
- Tavish Scott will resign as Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and will be replaced by Margaret Smith. Again another partial one – and the replacement idea was based on them experiencing near total wipeout in the May 2011 elections, leaving Margaret Smith as the only woman standing in one of the supposedly safest seats in Scotland. Little did I know….
- Iain Gray and Ed Miliband will survive the year in their respective leadership posts. Another half point, though in actual fact, Gray did survive for most of the year, thanks to the antediluvian electoral process for choosing a new leader. Miliband, it has to be said, has rather limped to the 2011 finish line.
- Scotland will not qualify for the Euro 2012 finals. “As usual, we will be there or thereabouts right to the last, prompting much unjustified optimism, as usual, and hope that this time will be our time. As usual, we will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” Yep, that was about the size of it. As usual.
- Celtic will claim the SPL title on the last day of the season (thanks to a controversial refereeing decision elsewhere), Hearts will nearly finish second and the mighty Killie will finish fourth. Gosh, how wrong can the burd be? Though Killie did finish fifth which was the source of much rejoicing in this eyrie.
- A Scottish band will win the Mercury Prize. Nope, even though King Creosote and Jon Hopkins shoulda won it.
- A Scottish newspaper title will fold. Right but not for the reasons I predicted. All the main contenders lost readers by the bucketload but made it into another year. Except for one, the News of the World. Still, I’m bagging the points.
- We will have a heatwave summer. Scotland’s weather is nothing if not unpredictable.
Fifteen predictions, five completely right (if a little wonky on the rationale), five partially right, five wholly wrong. There’s a nice symmetry to that.
So what of this year?
- There will be no referendum on independence in 2012. I’m starting with the easy ones. Not even if the UK Government decides to throw its weight around: it really isn’t that brave.
- The SNP will increase its number of councillors by at least a third and will win overall control in more local authorities The SNP’s triumphant steamrollering of the opposition parties will continue with the local government elections in May. Indeed, the results will actually be reined in by the performance of some weel kent local worthies clinging grimly on by virtue of reputation rather than performance. There will be fewer rainbow alliances across the country and more of that sea of yellow.
- But it won’t take Glasgow. I’d like it to but I think the mountain is too big to climb. Too many factional interests, not enough cohesion, too little groundwork, not enough focus despite the best efforts of some. And old habits really do die hard. Labour will use all its tricks, nefarious and other wise, to get a vote out. The result will be no overall control and either a minority administration or some hard bartering to form a coalition with the various Tory, Lib Dem and Green cohorts. Labour won’t give up power in the jewel of its crown without one helluva fight.
- There will be no Ministerial casualties from the Scottish Government I know, not much of a prediction is it. Okay how about this:
- There will be some kind of a two day wonder/scandal involving a high profile MSP or Minister but it won’t result in resignations or reshuffles. We’ll all get righteously indignacious and then forget all about it. Twas ever thus.
- There will be a Ministerial resignation from the coalition government and it will be a Liberal Democrat. If only to make way for the return of a rehabilitated David Laws.
- Teachers will go out on strike, for more than a day. In Scotland, not elsewhere in the UK. There may well be more public sector strikes but the Coalition government is cleverly playing a game of divide and rule so we are unlikely to see the country grind to a halt as we did on 30 November. But the teachers have got fire in their belly, even if their grievances are largely undeserved. Expect lots of ranting from the burd if they do.
- Youth unemployment will rise to 30% Despite the best efforts of our new Minister and indeed the whole Scottish Government, proving that state intervention with limited powers can only go so far. Providing more mettle to the SNP’s arguments for independence, more sticks for the Opposition parties to beat the SNP with, but none of it will matter. The shame will be Scotland’s – a generation lost.
- A Scottish player will be in the Team GB Olympic football squad. This will preoccupy us all more than is healthy but actually the sky won’t fall in. It will dominate the headlines, the back pages, the Twitterverse, the blogosphere and bore the pants off everyone. Ultimately he won’t play.
- Andy Murray will win a Grand Slam. And certain elements will celebrate by trying to declare him Scottish not British despite the best efforts of the BBC.
- Kilmarnock will end its League Cup drought and win it for the first time in 2012. Just as soon as we’ve disposed of the local rivals in the semi-final. A doddle until you look at the cup form over the years. Gulp.
- A Scottish artist/band will win the Mercury prize. And I shall continue to predict this until it happens. Either FOUND or Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells, surely.
I could trill on with more – a household name charity will get into serious financial difficulties, the Scottish Government will introduce a same sex marriage bill but allow a free vote to get some of its Ministers off the hook – but I won’t. Twelve’s enough and again allows for symmetry in the win, lose, draw categories at the end of the year.
And it leaves some room for you to add your own. Go on, you know you want to…